Chelsea Green Publishing

Chelsea Green Blog

Obama Seeks to Create High-Speed Rail System Across the US

I hate flying. I don’t mean I’m afraid of flying, like many who say they hate flying. (I’m about as afraid of flying as I am of riding on a bus—which is to say, not very much at all.) No, it isn’t fear that ties my stomach in knots: it’s the recycled, pressurized air; the invasive, humiliating, and slow-as-molasses security checks; the waiting on a runway in a cramped jet packed to the gills with sweaty, cranky travelers when every cell of my body is screaming “Get out RIGHT NOW.” Ugh.

But what’s the alternative? High-speed rail?

There’s not a single high-speed train running in the US today. Let me repeat that. There’s not a single high-speed train running in the US today. Sure, there’s the Acela Express. But, due to rail traffic and track conditions, it never hits speeds over half its 150 MPH potential. And in my view, if a train does not travel high speeds, it is not a high-speed train. To put it another way, if you slapped a flux capacitor on the Acela Express, you would never reach 1955—no matter how much plutonium you had.

Thankfully, by allocating billions of stimulus dollars to creating or updating our nation’s high-speed rail system, President Obama is trying to change all that.

WASHINGTON — President Obama on Thursday highlighted his ambition for the development of high-speed passenger rail lines in at least 10 regions, expressing confidence in the future of train travel even as he acknowledged that the American rail network, compared with the rest of the world’s, remains a caboose.

With clogged highways and overburdened airports, economic growth is suffering, Mr. Obama said at the Eisenhower Executive Office Building, shortly before leaving for a trip to Mexico and then Trinidad and Tobago.

“What we need, then, is a smart transportation system equal to the needs of the 21st century,” he said, “a system that reduces travel times and increases mobility, a system that reduces congestion and boosts productivity, a system that reduces destructive emissions and creates jobs.”

And he added, “There’s no reason why we can’t do this.”

Mr. Obama said the $8 billion for high-speed rail in his stimulus package — to be spent over two years — and an additional $1 billion a year being budgeted over the next five years, would provide a “jump start” toward achieving that vision.

The stimulus money has yet to be allocated to specific projects, but Mr. Obama said the Transportation Department would begin awarding money by the end of summer.

The government has identified 10 corridors, each from 100 to 600 miles long, with greatest promise for high-speed development.

They are: a northern New England line; an Empire line running east to west in New York State; a Keystone corridor running laterally through Pennsylvania; a major Chicago hub network; a southeast network connecting the District of Columbia to Florida and the Gulf Coast; a Gulf Coast line extending from eastern Texas to western Alabama; a corridor in central and southern Florida; a Texas-to-Oklahoma line; a California corridor where voters have already approved a line that will allow travel from San Francisco to Los Angeles in two and a half hours; and a corridor in the Pacific Northwest.

Read the whole article here.


BORN ON THIRD BASE author, Chuck Collins, to be interviewed by Bernie Sanders

On Tuesday, October 3rd at 11:30 a.m. EST, check out Facebook.com/SenatorSanders for a special Facebook Live event with Senator Bernie Sanders and Chuck Collins, Institute for Policy Studies, author of Born on Third Base, co-editor of Inequality.org. In case you miss the live broadcast, you can watch the replay on the Facebook event page. In […] Read More

Q&A with Kate Raworth about her radical new book, DOUGHNUT ECONOMICS

Q: First things first: Why did you want to write this book? A: I studied economics at university 25 years ago because I wanted to make a difference in the world and believed that economics – the mother tongue of public policy – would best equip me to do that. Instead, its theories left me […] Read More

Revisiting Naomi Wolf’s Call to Patriots–10 Years Later

Reading Naomi Wolf’s book The End of America: Letter of Warning to a Young Patriot today is an eerie experience. Written in 2007, it detailed the ways in which the Bush administration was beginning to chip away at the freedoms of American citizens. It outlined the ten steps dictators or would-be dictators take when their […] Read More

Yes, America We Can Make It … Really

Uncertainty got you down? The political world may seem like it’s crumbling around us, but this we know: We can make it, America. Literally, we can make things. Houses. Gardens. Food. Below we’ve selected some of our classic how-to and DIY books (and some new favorites) to help you sustain your self, family, and community. […] Read More

Chelsea Green on Instagram: Our Most Popular Photos of 2016

What a year for Chelsea Green on Instagram! We began the year with 500 followers and are now fast approaching 4,000 photo-loving brewers, gardeners, cheesemakers, permaculturists, foodies, seed-savers, homesteaders, foragers, and more. Our most popular posts of 2016 say a lot about what makes you happy: mushrooms, innovative garden designs and techniques, tiny cabins, and […] Read More
+1
Tweet
Share
Share
Pin